Information

Communications regarding disposal of Scottish Water owned subsidiary Business Stream: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004


Information requested

1. All internal communications since the start of 2018 relating to the consideration of the disposal of the Scottish Water owned subsidiary Business Stream.

2. Confirmation that the disposal of Business Stream has featured in discussion between the Scottish Government and staff at the Water Industry Commission.

3. All communications and papers shared between the Scottish Government and the Water Industry Commission including the notes and minutes of any discussions.

Response

As the information you have requested is 'environmental information' for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

Response to your request

The response to your query is in 2 parts:

Part 1
All internal communications since the start of 2018 relating to the consideration of the disposal of the Scottish Water owned subsidiary Business Stream.

I attach a copy of most of the information you requested.

An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to all of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exception is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception.

Exceptions under regulations 10(4)(e) (Internal communications) and 10(5)(e) (substantial prejudice to confidentiality of commercial or industrial information) of the EIRs applies to all of the information you have requested. Legal advice and commercially sensitive information has been redacted in all documents.

These exceptions are subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. We recognise that there is some public interest in release. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in maintaining legal professional privilege and confidentiality of commercially sensitive information.

Part 2

  • Confirmation that the disposal of Business Stream has featured in discussion between the Scottish government and staff at the Water Industry Commission.
  • All communications and papers shared between the Scottish government and the Water Industry Commission including the notes and minutes of any discussions.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

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